Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I've loved GLADIOLAS ever since I was young and saw them in florist's arrangements for Memorial Day, and other occasions.  These striking flowers, one of the most popular summer blooms, grow from CORMS.  Each corm sends up an upright cluster of stiff green fronds.  If planted at intervals, a person can enjoy their blooms all summer long, and even into the fall.  I planted my first three groups of corms yesterday, and will continue planting at two-week intervals for another month or two.  Gladiola take anywhere from 65 to 90 days to mature and bloom, depending on the variety you have, and even the size of the corn.  Gladiola show best when planted in groups--at least five or more; I planted 10 in my grouping.  They look nice planted along side of lilies for a stunning combination.  I also like to have mine planted  with daisies, columbines, monarda and daylilies.  They look great intermingled throughout your garden beds for an added splash of color, or as specimen plants.  Since they can be 3-6' tall, plant accordingly in your beds--taller ones toward the back, shorter varieties toward the front.  Plant them 3-6" deep, depending on the size of the corm; a good rule or thumb to follow is to plant at 2-3X's the depth of the size of the corm, and space them in groups about 2-3 inches apart. (This helps them stand against each other for support as well).   Rows should be about 20-36" apart.  They will probably need to be staked, since they are top-heavy.  They appreciate an organic fertilizer when they are about 6-8" tall, and they need ample water--moist and well drained--garden soil is perfect. They love full sun.   They are great used as cut flowers.  Cut the flower spike when the first floret is showing color for the best quality of cut flowers.  When cutting, be sure to leave at least two, but preferably four, leaves of the plant after cutting the spike to help corms mature properly.  Two added benefits--they come in the full spectrum of the color wheel--as you can see from a few of the blooms from last year in my picture.  And, they are relatively inexpensive to purchase the corms, which are in the nurseries and even grocery and variety stores right now. These stunning beauties will brighten your flower beds, and are easy to lift in the fall. To do this, just dig them after the tops have died off, before a hard freeze.  Let them dry outside in a light, airy place.  After two or three weeks of drying, remove the old withered corm from the base and discard.  I store mine in a mesh bag and hang them in the shed over winter, and they're ready to plant the next season. (I have kept mine in the ground through the winter with success and had them sprout the next year in protected areas of my yard. They aren't supposed to be hardy in zones below 6).   NOTE:  GLADIOLA are not deer resistant, and need to be protected from them.
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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